It’s been over 10 weeks since the UK went into lockdown amid the Covid-19 outbreak. And even though restrictions have started to ease slightly, allowing groups of 6 from separate households to meet, we’re still under strict guidelines. Despite the social distancing guidelines and warnings from doctors and scientists, the news has shown images of people all over the country flocking to beauty spots to enjoy the warm weather of late.
Personally, I don’t think travelling great distances to hot spots is ‘reasonable’ or responsible. That doesn’t mean I’ve not been itching to get out!
One thing I’ve missed massively is camping. Normally at this time of year, I’d spend most weekends camping, either chasing swell to the coast or wild camping in the mountains. I’ve contemplated wild camping close to home, but despite the fact I can’t find anything to say you shouldn’t I decided against it. Instead, we camped out in the back yard. Like kids. And yes, it was just as great as you remember.
Here are our 10 essentials for the perfect garden camp out:
1. Find the perfect pitch
Normally when wild camping, you spend ages searching for the perfect spot – tossing up between lumpy ground, protection from the wind, a nice view etc. In the garden, however, it was really straight forward. Stay away from the chickens and keep the view over the fields in front. It might not be high up in the Brecon Beacons or next to a lake in the Lake District, but as camp spots go it wasn’t a bad pitch.
2. Choose a comfy sleeping mat
Nobody likes an uncomfortable nights sleep. And one of the most important pieces of equipment to ensure that you sleep easy is a sleeping mat. The new Trail Mat Air from Jack Wolfskin is super comfy despite being lightweight and packable and only takes a couple of minutes to inflate!
No camp set up is complete without a crackling fire. If you’re camping in someone else’s garden, be sure to get permission before lighting a fire and burning everything.
4. Snacks, snacks and more snacks
One of the benefits of camping in the garden is that if you run out of something you can quickly pop into the house to restock. Em made a batch of cookies which didn’t last very long!
Instagram vs Reality…
5. Headtorch or lanterns
At this time of year in the UK it only really goes dark at 10.30pm and before you know it the sun is coming up at 4.30am. Even so, you’ll need a headtorch or a lantern for when it does get dark.
6. Insect repellent
Unless you want to be fighting away swarms of midges all night, slapping some insect repellent on or lighting a citronella candle are a great idea!
Whatever your preferred tipple is, make sure you’ve got it handy for when you crawl into your sleeping bag. There’s nothing better than sipping whiskey from the comfort of your squishy bag.
8. Warm layer
Even at the height of summer it’s a good idea to have a warm layer handy. Luckily the new Pack & Go vest from Jack Wolfskin just arrived.
Unless you want to leave the comfort of your sleeping bag and go in to the house to make a coffee in the morning, I’d highly recommend having your camping stove nearby. I never go to sleep without it close by. It really makes the mornings a lot easier!
10. Eye mask and ear plugs
Possibly not the most obvious things to take on a back yard camp trip but on this particular night the moon was so bright that I found it hard to get to sleep and hard to stay asleep when the birds starting singing at 4am. Fortunately, 4am at this time of year is beautiful!
All things considered, backyard camping is actually a lot of fun. It’s not something I would think of doing if I were able to head into the National Parks. But you still get the same feeling from sleeping under the stars and that familiar feeling of waking up a little bit damp in your bivvy from morning dew. If you’re craving an adventure fix too, I’d highly recommend setting up your tent in the garden!
About the kit
Trail Mat Air
Firstly, the new sleeping mat is one of two new offerings from Jack Wolfskin as part of their new range. The Trail Mat Air is a mid-range camping mat aimed at backpackers and wildcampers. It’s not the lightest or warmest mat on the market but at 500g you can’t complain for £100. One particularly useful feature is the double valve system for inflation and deflation.
Abrasion resistant 30-denier polyester / Flexible air chamber construction / 2 wide-aperture valves for rapid inflation and deflation/ 100% polyamide stuff sack / R-value 1.8 / Repair kit included
Full feature on the Pack & Go range coming soon!